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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Rhinocerebral zygomycosis in a patient with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

We report a case of a 28-year-old man with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who developed rhinocerebral zygomycosis during induction chemotherapy. This life-threatening fungal infection is an infrequent cause of neutropenic fever, and is occasionally found in patients with leukemia and lymphoma, or patients with severely compromised defence mechanisms due to other diseases. It is caused by moulds belonging to the Mucoraceae family, and is characterized by local destruction of the affected organ. In our patient, the infection spread from the paranasal sinuses to the right orbit, destroyed intraorbital structures and resulted in blindness within days. Biopsy from the right maxillary sinus was performed and mucormycosis was suspected through microscopic examination. Culture of the resected specimen identified Rhizopus arrhizus as the causing agent. Treatment of zygomycosis should consist of radical surgical debridement of the infected tissue, together with intensive broad-spectrum antimycotic therapy with amphotericin B. What could be learned from this case is, that aggressive approaches to identify the cause of infection is necessary, and that aggressive treatment strategies are inevitable to overcome the infection. Furthermore, treatment of the underlying disease should be continued as soon as possible.[1]


  1. Rhinocerebral zygomycosis in a patient with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Lerchenmüller, C., Göner, M., Büchner, T., Berdel, W.E. Ann. Oncol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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